Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu

Abbot Gyoson

On a mountain slope,
Solitary, uncompanioned,
Stands a cherry tree.
Except for you, lonely friend,
To others I am unknown.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thich Nhat Hanh


Being Peace

If we are peaceful.
If we are happy.
We can smile and blossom
Like a flower.

And everyone
In our family,
Our entire society
Will benefit
From our peace.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Li Yu (937-978)

Beneath the Moon, Before the Steps (Gratitude for New Bounties)
Li Yu

Beneath the moon, before the steps, all cherry blossom has fallen,
Enwreathed in smoke, she looks sorrowful lying in bed.
She feels the same regret today as one long year ago.
Both braids like cloud in disarray, her face is wan and sallow,
The crimson corset wet from wiping tears.
But what's the reason why she suffers so?
She lies in a drunken dream before the window.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Du Fu (712-770)

To what shall I compare
The Sacred Mount that stands,
A balk of green that hath no end,
Betwixt two lands!
Nature did fuse and blend
All mystic beauty there,
Where Dark and Light
Do dusk and dawn unite.

Gazing, soul-cleansed, at Thee
From clouds upsprung, one may
Mark with wide eyes the homing flight
Of birds. Some day
Must I thy topmost height
Mount, at one glance to see
Hills numberless
Dwindle to nothingness.

- Tu Fu

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zhang Jiu Ling (673-740)

Thinking afar in moonlight
A bright moon rising over the sea,
Shores apart, watching the same
Is someone dear to me.
I loath this endless night;
And could not sleep but think of thee.
In this full moon light,
Who cares for candlelight?
Stepping out I don my gown,
And feel dew on the ground.
I wish to offer you moonlight in a handful,
But, to my real shame, ‘tis impossible.
Retirng to my bed, it seems,
I might find happier days in dreams.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)

Return To Songshan
Wang Wei 699-759

Clear river ... a long narrow band,
Horse cart idles along ... xianxian.
Water flows like my thoughts,
Flocks of birds return with me.
Deserted village overlooks old ferry crossing,
Setting sun floods autumn mountains.
Songshan towers high in the distance,
Coming back, I shut my door on the world.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tao Chien (365-427)

Lingering Clouds

How fair, the lingering clouds!
How misty, the seasonal rain!
Darkness fills the universe,
Blurring the level pathway.
I sit quietly in the eastern study,
Drinking spring wine alone.
My good friends are far away.
Scratching my head, I long for them.

How fair, the lingering clouds!
How misty, the seasonal rain!
Darkness fills the universe;
The land becomes a river.
I have wine! I have wine!
Leisurely I drink by the eastern window.
I yearn to speak to my friends,
But no boats or carts come.

The branches of the trees in the eastern garden
Are again burgeoning.
With their fresh beauty, they compete
To attract my love.
As the saying goes,
Time is short.
How can we find time to sit together
And talk of our lives?

Fluttering, the flying birds
Rest on the branches of my garden tree.
Scratching their feathers, they sit
And harmonize sweetly.
I have many friends
But I think most of you.
I want to talk with you, but you are not to be found.
How I resent it!

Tao Chien :

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vegetable Roots Discoarse (16th cent.)

Don't have to stretch your mind too far, nor too many things to keep.
A couple of rocks on a shallow dish
can assume miles of mountains and rivers.
A couple of words and statements can reveal the mind of a great saint. Knowing it shows the insights of an intellectual.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kuan Han-Ch'ing (1241-1320)

Idle Wandering
by Kuan Han-Ch'ing

English version by Jerome P. Seaton
Original Language Chinese

go where my mind will
sit when my heart's still
drink when I'm thirsty
and sing when I'm drunk
when hard times come
I find a pile of grass and sleep
the days and months are long
the world is vast
and idleness is happiness

toss off the vintage wine
use up the raw
laugh beside the earthen pot
ha, ha, ha,
hum harmonies together with this rude old mountain bonz
he has a pair of chickens
I've brought along a duck
and idleness is happiness

I've reined mind's horses
locked up my monkey heart
leapt up from red dust and evil-mannered wind
who woke me from my shady dreams of Empire?
I've left the field of honor
and wormed into a nest of joys
where idleness is happiness

he's ploughed the southern field
and slept among the eastern hills
I've been the way the world goes, often
vainly measured bygones in my mind
he's the saint
and I'm the fool
who'd argue that?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mei Yao Ch'en (1002-1060)


In broad daylight I dream I
Am with her. At night I dream
She is still at my side. She
Carries her kit of colored
Threads. I see her image bent
Over her bag of silks. She
Mends and alters my clothes and
Worries for fear I might look
Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches
Over my life. Her constant
Memory draws me towards death.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Feng Gan (Ifl. 9th cent)

Poem After Hui Neng the Sixth Patriarch

Actually there isn't a thing
much less any dust to wipe away
who can master this
doesn't need to sit there stiff

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai-701-762)

Chuang Tzu And The Butterfly

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man ?
Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?
The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea
Returns anon to the shallows of a transparent stream.
The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the city,
Was once the Prince of the East Hill.
So must rank and riches vanish.
You know it, still you toil and toil,—what for?

Li Po :

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Qu Yuan (343 BC-278 BC)

The Mountain Spirit

There seem to be a man in the deep mountain,
Clad in creeping vine and girded with ivy,
With a charming look and a becoming smile.
'Do you admire me for my lovely form?'
She rides a red leopard - striped lynxes follwing behind -
Her chariot of magnolia arrayed with banners of cassia,
Her cloak made of orchids and her girdle of azalea,
Calling sweet flowers for those dear in her heart.

'I live in a bamboo grove, the sky unseen
The road hither is steep and dangerous; I arrive alone and late.
Alone I stand on the mountain top
While the clouds gather beneath me.

'All gloomy and dark is the day;
The east wind drifts and god sends down rain.
Waiting for the divine one, I forget to go home.
The year is late. Who will now bedeck me?

'I pluck the larkspur on the mountain side,
The rocks are craggy; and the vines tangled.
Complaining of the young lord, sadly I forget to go home.
You, my lord, are thinking of me; but you have no time,'

The man in the mountain, fragrant with sweet herb,
Drinks from the rocky spring, shaded by pines and firs.
'You, my lord, are thinking of me, but then you hesitate.'

The thunder rumbles and the rain darkens;
The gibbons mourn, howling all the night;
The wind whistles and the trees are bare.
'I am thing of the young lord; I sorrow in vain.'

Qu Yuan

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mumonkan (13th cent)

Mumon's Verse for Chao-chou's Oak Tree, Case 37

Words cannot express things;
Speech does not convey the spirit.
Swayed by words, one is lost;
Blocked by phrases, one is bewildered.

- Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan & Hekiganroku, p. 110
Translated with commentaries by Katsuki Sekida

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Xue Tao (768-831)

the eagle away from the oversleeve

by Xue Tao

claws sharp as blades
eyes acute as tinkling bells

hunted rabbits over the plain received high praise

for no reason
soared into serene clouds

I must not again be held on the emperor’s shoulder

Monday, October 14, 2013

Du Fu (712-770)


Isolate and full, the moon
Floats over the house by the river.
Into the night the cold water rushes away below the gate.
The bright gold spilled on the river is never still.
The brilliance of my quilt is greater than precious silk.
The circle without blemish.
The empty mountains without sound.
The moon hangs in the vacant, wide constellations.
Pine cones drop in the old garden.
The senna trees bloom.
The same clear glory extends for ten thousand miles.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tao Chien (365-427)

Ninth Day, Ninth Month

Slowly autumn comes to an end.
Painfully cold a dawn wind thicks the dew.
Grass round here will not be green again,
Trees and leaves are already suffering.
The clear air is drained and purified
And the high white sky’s a mystery.
Nothing’s left of the cicada’s sound.
Flying geese break the heavens’ silence.
The Myriad Creatures rise and return.
How can life and death not be hard?
From the beginning all things have to die.
Thinking of it can bruise the heart.
What can I do to lighten my thoughts?
Solace myself drinking the last of this wine.
Who understands the next thousand years?
Let’s just make this morning last forever.

Tao Chien :

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vegetable Roots Discourse (Ming Dynasty)

Stretching the bow when the goose is not yet here;
Drawing the arrow when the rabbit is already dead.
Such is called inopportune timing.
Don't make wave when the wind has subsided;
Disembark as soon as the boat is ashore.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Li Jinfa (1900-1976)

Sitting in Quietude

Li Jinfa

Winter has a message of its own
When the cold is like a ?ower-
Flowers have their fragrance, winter has its handful of memories.
The shadow of withered branch, like lean blue smoke,
Paints a stroke across the aftemoon window.
In the cold the sunlight grows pale and slanted.
It is just like this.
I sip the tea quietly
As if waiting for a guest to speak.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chuang Tzu (369 BC-286 BC)

Distinguishing Ego from Self

All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object.
Among them all, man alone is more than an object.
Though, like objects, he has form and semblance,
He is not limited to form.
He is more.
He can attain to formlessness.

When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond "this" and "that,"
where is the comparison with another object?
Where is the conflict?
What can stand in his way?
He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place.
He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret.
His nature sinks to its root in the One.
His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
-trans. T.Merton

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jusammi Chikako (14th cent.)

On this summer night
by Jusammi Chikako

English version by Edwin A. Cranston
Original Language Japanese

On this summer night
All the household lies asleep,
And in the doorway,
For once open after dark,
Stands the moon, brilliant, cloudless.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai, 701-762)

Autumn Air

The autumn air is clear,
The autumn moon is bright.
Fallen leaves gather and scatter,
The jackdaw perches and starts anew.
We think of each other- when will we meet?
This hour, this night, my feelings are hard.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Jang Seok-Nam

장석남 Jang Seok-Nam
Translator: Brother Anthony of Taizé

Winter Pond

I walk across a frozen pond.
Here is where the water-lilies were.
Under here was the black rock where the catfish would hide.
Occasionally a cracking sound as if it is splitting
as love grows deeper.

All the irises are bent over.
My shoulders, knees, feet, that all summer long I saw reflected, sitting on this rock, have frozen like the irises.
They too show no sign of having watched the reflection of something before this.
Although the fourteenth-day moon comes in its course, icily
all remain silent.

Suppose someone comes along,
loud steps treading on the pond,
and addresses me anxiously, saying:
“This is where I used to be.”
“This is where that star used to come.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bai Juyi (772-846)

A Foresaken Garden

I enter the court
Through the middle gate—
And my sleeve is wet with tears.

The flowers still grow
In the courtyard,
Though two springs have fled
Since last their master came.

The windows, porch, and bamboo screen
Are just as they always were,
But at the entrance to the house
Someone is missing—

Bai Juyi